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View Full Version : Magic Sytem and Other RPG building things



Thatwarforged
2015-01-25, 01:35 AM
I'm deciding if I want to build my own Gaming System or strip one down to bare essentials. Right now I am working on a magic system this is one of the more important things to me. I've decided I want a mana based magic and that the game has three forms of magic. Architecture Magic- The construction of magic spells prior to its casting (I.E. D&D wizard like casting). Spontaneous Magic- Creating Magical effects on the fly, these effects may emulate spells but they are difficult to cast though (I.E. D&D sorcerer like casting). Binding Magic- Binding spirits and other extra planar like being to create a near permanent magic effects (I.E. D&D Warlock or Binder like powers). The other facet of magic is its broken into nine (or six if I fuse the elements) schools of magic. These schools are Air, Alteration, Conjuration, Earth, Fire, Necromancy, Psi, Spatial and Water.
So the question is there a good system for something like this or what advice you might have for me?

My other question is how should I balance DC for 3D6 (like dragon age)?

Grod_The_Giant
2015-01-26, 03:57 PM
So the question is there a good system for something like this or what advice you might have for me?
Read. Before you sit down to write your own RPG, you should read (and, ideally, try) a number of other systems, just to see what's out there. D&D is only one way of doing things. Look at hings like Fate (available as a pay-what-you-will), GURPS, Mutants and Masterminds (available as an SRD (http://www.d20herosrd.com/)), Savage Worlds ($10 for a paperback; quickplay rules available), at least one White Wolf Storyteller-based game (Exalted, Vampire: The Masquerade, etc-- you might try to look at both New and Old World of Darkness books. I know there's at least one free nWoD quickstart adventure out there)... anything, really, especially if the rules look really different from those you know. The more sources you can draw on for inspiration, the better.

Also, when you're done with your reading, build the basic mechanics first. It took me four drafts of STaRS to get the core elements right; I imagine that you'll face a similar experience. Make sure the game flows properly before you worry about the exact numbers, make sure the numbers scale properly before you write core rules, make sure the core rules for combat and skills and such work before you start writing actual abilities and spells and such.


My other question is how should I balance DC for 3D6 (like dragon age)?
3d6 will have a strong bell curve. Almost fifty percent of rolls will be between 9 and 12. Extend that up to 8-13, and you're talking two thirds of all rolls. Modifiers will have a much larger impact than in a 1d20 system like D&D. On the plus side, you can make pretty reasonable assumptions about rolls:
You have a 90% chance of rolling 7 or more
You have a 75% chance of rolling 9 or more
You have a 50% chance of rolling 11 or more
You have a 25% chance of rolling 13 or more
You have a 10% chance of rolling 15 or more
Does that help?

Milo v3
2015-01-26, 05:56 PM
The Spheres of Power system might work for this, it separates the magic into different schools of magic and it should be able to replicate your different forms of magic through it's Spellcasting Traditions system.

The only downsides I see is that Spheres of Power is not free, and the elemental schools (such as Air) are separated into Destruction, Nature, and Weather.

Thatwarforged
2015-01-29, 07:30 AM
Read. Before you sit down to write your own RPG, you should read (and, ideally, try) a number of other systems, just to see what's out there. D&D is only one way of doing things. Look at hings like Fate (available as a pay-what-you-will), GURPS, Mutants and Masterminds (available as an SRD (http://www.d20herosrd.com/)), Savage Worlds ($10 for a paperback; quickplay rules available), at least one White Wolf Storyteller-based game (Exalted, Vampire: The Masquerade, etc-- you might try to look at both New and Old World of Darkness books. I know there's at least one free nWoD quickstart adventure out there)... anything, really, especially if the rules look really different from those you know. The more sources you can draw on for inspiration, the better.

Also, when you're done with your reading, build the basic mechanics first. It took me four drafts of STaRS to get the core elements right; I imagine that you'll face a similar experience. Make sure the game flows properly before you worry about the exact numbers, make sure the numbers scale properly before you write core rules, make sure the core rules for combat and skills and such work before you start writing actual abilities and spells and such.


3d6 will have a strong bell curve. Almost fifty percent of rolls will be between 9 and 12. Extend that up to 8-13, and you're talking two thirds of all rolls. Modifiers will have a much larger impact than in a 1d20 system like D&D. On the plus side, you can make pretty reasonable assumptions about rolls:
You have a 90% chance of rolling 7 or more
You have a 75% chance of rolling 9 or more
You have a 50% chance of rolling 11 or more
You have a 25% chance of rolling 13 or more
You have a 10% chance of rolling 15 or more
Does that help?

This does help to some degrees, After this I found a possible roll chart for a 3D6 system and calculated the exact percentages of rolling what. I have read savage worlds (Though I'm not that impressed with it), I've read a bit of GURPs but its a bit of a lot to take in. I have personally played D&D 3.5 and 4e, D6 System, Dark Heresy, Big Eyes, Small Mouth and Dragon Age Set one. If that helps with any suggestions you can make.


The Spheres of Power system might work for this, it separates the magic into different schools of magic and it should be able to replicate your different forms of magic through it's Spellcasting Traditions system.

The only downsides I see is that Spheres of Power is not free, and the elemental schools (such as Air) are separated into Destruction, Nature, and Weather.

I will have to look in Used book stores then. Thank you.



One thing I've been thinking of is a Skill system, This is what I have so far tell me what you think of it and be honest.
When you make a skill check roll 3D6 + ability + Skill boost + any relevant Perks. Roll additional D6 equal to the skill boost, you can replace one of your Die rolls with one of the Die roll from your skill boost, that die roll cannot be the Wild Die. Your skill boost is the ranks you have which are (0-5 for average games, but can be extended to 0-9 for high leveled games).
For Example: Cedrick is a great scout and is a Journeyman (2) in Stealth, he is hiding in the Woods from orc raiders. He rolls a Stealth check and has a 2 in his dexterity and no stealth perks, so he rolls his stealth check (3D6 + 2 dex, +2 stealth boost) he also rolls an additional 2D6. He rolls a 3 on his wild die and 4 and a 2 on his other die, His two skill die is a 3 and 1. He decides to replace his 2 on his normal roll for his 3. His total being 14 (10 from his roll and +4 from his ability and skill boost), he succeed on avoiding detection.

GGambrel
2015-01-31, 04:04 PM
One thing I've been thinking of is a Skill system, This is what I have so far tell me what you think of it and be honest.
When you make a skill check roll 3D6 + ability + Skill boost + any relevant Perks. Roll additional D6 equal to the skill boost, you can replace one of your Die rolls with one of the Die roll from your skill boost, that die roll cannot be the Wild Die. Your skill boost is the ranks you have which are (0-5 for average games, but can be extended to 0-9 for high leveled games).
For Example: Cedrick is a great scout and is a Journeyman (2) in Stealth, he is hiding in the Woods from orc raiders. He rolls a Stealth check and has a 2 in his dexterity and no stealth perks, so he rolls his stealth check (3D6 + 2 dex, +2 stealth boost) he also rolls an additional 2D6. He rolls a 3 on his wild die and 4 and a 2 on his other die, His two skill die is a 3 and 1. He decides to replace his 2 on his normal roll for his 3. His total being 14 (10 from his roll and +4 from his ability and skill boost), he succeed on avoiding detection.

This seems a bit unnecessarily complicated to me. I can see that it increases both the average roll and the consistency of rolls as the skill boost increases, which appeals to my intuition of how skill improves in reality. However, to achieve this result you combine aspects of dice pools and rolling and adding a modifier. The following article summarizes most of the dice pool systems I know of:

http://mythcreants.com/blog/four-die-pool-systems-all-gamers-should-know/

The system you're proposing seems like a mixture of the Dragon Age PnP RPG and the Legend of 5 Rings (L5R) RPG. I'd recommend you choose one mechanic or the other to reduce the number of tasks a player must do to determine the result of their roll. (Add 3 Dice - Add Modifier vs. Compare Dice - Add [Stat #] Dice) I think even making the skill boost only count as extra dice would go a long way in simplifying the system conceptually, though determining results is only very slightly simplified. (Compare Dice - Add 3 Dice - Add Modifier) Anyway, that's my take.

Also http://anydice.com/ is awesome. Typing in something like:
"output 3d6"
without the quotes will give you the probability of all possible results of rolling 3d6 in a nice chart or graph.
Likewise for L5R probabilities, typing:
"output [highest 3 of 5d6]"
without the quotes will give you the probability of all possible results of rolling 5d6 and adding the highest 3 dice in a nice chart or graph.

Mark Hall
2015-01-31, 04:21 PM
So, think about what you're doing and how to put it together; I definitely agree that you should read a number of magic systems, and the RPGs that surround them, before you work on your own, but...

Core mechanic: 3d6 (plus modifiers?) v. DC (which, I am assuming, will fluctuate with the difficulty of the spell). Consider how high you want modifiers to go, because that's going to determine how high your DCs should be. What happens when my modifiers will let me cast a spell without a roll? What happens if my modifiers are such that a given spell is completely beyond my ability? What caps my ability?

Three types: Architecture, Spontaneous, and Binding. What are they good at? Why would I choose to be an Architecture mage instead of a Spontaneous mage? Why would I pick Spontaneous over Binding? Do I even have to pick? Can I get skill in each of them?

Schools: How do they interact? If calling a Fire Elemental a Fire Spell, a Conjuration Spell, or a Spatial spell? Is Enlarging someone an Alteration or a Spatial spell? Are there multiple ways to achieve a given effect?

Thatwarforged
2015-01-31, 04:45 PM
So, think about what you're doing and how to put it together; I definitely agree that you should read a number of magic systems, and the RPGs that surround them, before you work on your own, but...

Core mechanic: 3d6 (plus modifiers?) v. DC (which, I am assuming, will fluctuate with the difficulty of the spell). Consider how high you want modifiers to go, because that's going to determine how high your DCs should be. What happens when my modifiers will let me cast a spell without a roll? What happens if my modifiers are such that a given spell is completely beyond my ability? What caps my ability?

Three types: Architecture, Spontaneous, and Binding. What are they good at? Why would I choose to be an Architecture mage instead of a Spontaneous mage? Why would I pick Spontaneous over Binding? Do I even have to pick? Can I get skill in each of them?

Schools: How do they interact? If calling a Fire Elemental a Fire Spell, a Conjuration Spell, or a Spatial spell? Is Enlarging someone an Alteration or a Spatial spell? Are there multiple ways to achieve a given effect?

Core mechanic: 3d6 + Magic + School Skill. V. Dc based on spell. What Caps the abilities is the rank you have in a certain magic skill (I.E. a Novice Fire mage is only able to learn Novice fire spells)
Three types: Architecture magic flaw is that spells have to be built prior to its casting (I.E. Knowing the spell) its pro is that they are cheaper in mana and Dcs. Spontaneous Magic flaw is that spells cost lots of mana and have generally larger Dc, their pro is that they can do anything within the school and rank of the magic. Binding is dangerous, since its either forcing spirits to give effects, depending on how hard you fail a check may cause bad things to happen (Not just limited to the spirit out to kill you). On character creation and choosing the Magic Trait (Talent) you pick which form of magic your gift manifests as.
Schools: Generally a specific spell is found in one school, If you summoned the Fire elemental then it falls under conjuration but if there is one already present and you attempt to manipulate it that would fall under fire. Simply put the schools are skills and a mage may have as many as they are willing to spend on them. Spatial mainly deals with movement and dimensions, I.E. the haste spell falls here and so do pocket dimensions.

Unfortunately this project just got put on the backburner, I was trying to have it ready for my group when we got back together in 4 months but the party member who supplies us with the gaming space is coming to town for 2 weeks in February and he wants to start the campaign I was going to run in 4 months. I will be working on this but I'm going to do as everyone has been suggesting and read more systems (though for the life of me I cant find a good magic system), so for now I'm going to stick with a pathfinder game and the project I'm working on is Turning the Core martial classes into Path of War Initiator Classes.

EldritchWeaver
2015-02-23, 10:12 AM
I will have to look in Used book stores then. Thank you.

Spheres of Power is so new it hasn't been printed yet. But it will be added to the PRD at some time, so no need to buy it before you can look at it.

Thatwarforged
2015-02-24, 01:55 AM
Actually went and bought it online since i was reading awesome things about it on the playground. I really like it, it actually made me want to play pathfinder again. Especially with dreamscarred akashic mysteries and path of war it allows me to bring my fantasy world into a pathfinder game.